Economic Development

Study Estimates $2.6M Price Tag for Delphi Cleanup

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WARREN, Ohio – Rehabilitation of the site proposed for AutoParkit LLC’s headquarters and plant here could cost $2.6 million, an environmental review of the study found.

The Western Reserve Port Authority paid Brownfield Restoration Group LLC, Akron, $200,000 for the environmental assessment of the former Delphi Packard Electric property on Dana Street. In October 2015, Warren native Christopher Alan, founder and owner of AutoParkit, announced plans to acquire the property and make the site his company’s headquarters and manufacturing plant.

JobsOhio, the state economic development agency, will reimburse the port authority for the study, which examined ground, water and vapor issues at the approximately 8-acre site covered by the study.

Most of the $2.6 million remediation estimate — $1.5 million – would address asbestos issues at the property, Jim Smith, Brownfield Restoration Group president, told the port authority’s economic development committee Wednesday morning.

Addressing ground contamination issues could cost $550,000, the report found. Soil contaminants discovered include petroleum, heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and chlorinated solvents such as degreasing agents.

“It’s not surprising to find lead and mercury,” Smith said. It would be surprising for “an industrial manufacturing facility of this size and complexity” that operated as long as it did not to have any residual industrial contamination, and the findings definitely could have been much worse, he said.

“I don’t think it’s that far off from what we were hoping for. It absolutely could have been worse,” said Anthony Trevena, director of economic development for the port authority and head of its development and finance authority.

Sarah Lown, public finance manager of the finance authority, had expected the costs to come in higher.

“Considering the acreage, there were a fair amount of areas of concern, but they are manageable with a well-planned development strategy,” Lown said. “We could bring those costs well under where they came in.”

Lown was pleased that so much of the cost is related to asbestos, which is easier to remediate or abate “than having to dig through concrete pads and replace it with clean fill and resurface it,” an intrusive, time-consuming and expensive process, she said.

Ground remediation costs could be half of what was estimated were the contaminated soil encapsulated rather than dug out, she added.

Because the site is in an area designated an urban setting, groundwater need not meet the drinking water standards, saving as much as another $750,000, Smith said.

“The groundwater issues would have been huge,” he stated.

Trevena credited Lown — recognized as an expert on addressing brownfield issues for her work with the port authority, the city of Youngstown and elsewhere — with having the foresight to pursue the urban setting designation for the property long before AutoParkit was on the radar screen.

“That’s a game-changer,” he said.

With the Phase II environmental study in hand, the port authority and AutoParkit can go to JobsOhio to pursue cleanup funds. However, ownership of the property remains in limbo, Trevena said.

The property is owned by Sergio DiPaolo of Girard. In February, Alan – who said he has spent more than $1 million to secure the site — told The Business Journal he hoped to have an agreement in place to acquire the property by last month.

The study has been presented to both the developer and the property owner.

“I don’t think anything is going to happen until that property issue is resolved,” Trevena said. “Nobody is going to put money into it until this ownership issue is resolved.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.